Rory to celebrate Open glory with party at home club
BRITISH Open winner Rory McIlroy is set to make his victorious homecoming today to the greens where it all began.
The Co Down native is expected to return to his beloved Holywood Golf Club today to show off his latest silverware, the prestigious Claret Jug he clinched at Royal Liverpool on Sunday.
The feelgood factor was in full swing at the golf club yesterday as people gathered in case McIlroy dropped in.
The 25-year-old touched down in Belfast City Airport yesterday by private jet and even posed for photographs with ground staff proudly showing off his trophy.
Two miles up the road members at Holywood were basking in the glory of their most famous son.
As the night wore on last night the homecoming hero had still not arrived at the club where it all started over 20 years ago, but the party went on regardless.
Stephen Crooks, the golf pro at Holywood, said he wasn't surprised with the world No 2's triumph in Liverpool at the weekend.
"I was an assistant pro in Holywood back 12 years ago, and he was a junior member, so I have known him since he was 11," he said yesterday.
"I had a friend who played on the tour and I told him about this kid that was Rory McIlroy, and I told him that your management company need to sign this kid – which they never did. I knew at that age, he was 12 or 13, that he was going to be big."
Mr Crooks said the golfer is due to hold a press conference in a venue close to the golf club today. And, it is hoped that he will then make a triumphant return to where his career began. "Hopefully he is going to be at the golf club today. I don't know times but I would imagine that the Claret jug will be shown at some stage before he heads to America."
Mr Crooks watched McIlroy lift the Claret Jug on Sunday evening, and said that champagne was flowing to celebrate the massive victory.
"We are really pleased for him to achieve what he has so far. Everyone's delighted."
Rory is believed to no longer own any property in Northern Ireland after selling his home in Moneyreagh in 2013. He is now based at a €8m riverside mansion in Palm Beach, Florida, which includes golf practice areas on its 14-acre grounds.